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1 Chronicles -- Chapter 4

[21] Well, Satan, that damned old rascal, just has to get in the picture, and he rose up and incited David to do a terrible thing -- take a census of Israel, as evil and unimaginable as that might be. Now, don't be fooled into thinking that god is contradicting himself here, just because you were told in 2 Samuel that it was god who incited him to do this. You know god's word is perfect in every way. This is easily explained. Simply: Satan, who is god, tempted David to take that census. Satan is simply one member of the godhead.

So David told Joab and the other commanders, "Go count the Israelites and report back to me how many there are."

Joab just wasn't into this particular assignment, though. Why waste time counting, you know, when you could be killing? However, David was the king, so Joab had to do as he was told. He came back and reported to David that there were one million one hundred thousand men who could handle a sword, including four hundred seventy thousand in Judah. This is different from the eight hundred thousand in Israel and five hundred thousand in Judah reported in 2 Samuel, but that is okay, because god does math in mysterious ways.

Joab didn't include Levi or Benjamin in the numbering because it was repulsive to him. (He could do repulsive things to those other tribes, but not to Levi and Benjamin.) The command was also evil in god's sight, so god punished Israel.

David was then sorry for following Satan-who-is-god's enticement and said to god, "I have sinned greatly. Now please take away my sin."

God sent David's seer, Gad, to him in response. "Take your choice of punishment: three years of famine, three months of being swept away before your enemies, or three days of plague upon the land, with god's angel ravaging every part of Israel". Gad didn't bother to point out that all three options involved death and suffering to innocent people, rather than to David, but god doesn't concern himself with such minor points.

David said, "Don't let me fall into the hands of men. Let me fall into the hands of our merciful god who will show his mercy by killing thousands of innocent people because of what I did."

So god sent the plague upon Israel and killed seventy thousand men. So women should not think it strange if they are bartered between men as property with few rights. Men can be pawns in god's fun games, too.

God sent an angel to destroy the city of Jerusalem, but as the angel was doing so, god, who is not a man that he should change his mind, relented and said, "Enough. Withdraw your hand." The angel was then standing at the threshing floor of one Araunah the Jebusite. David looked up and saw the angel standing between heaven and earth with a sword drawn over Jerusalem and fell face down. "Was it not I who ordered the evil, evil sin of counting the fighting men? Why do you kill the people? Let your hand fall on me and my innocent family instead?"

"Nope," the angel responded. "You sinned. Seventy thousand innnocent people were killed. That's god's justice!" Then the angel ordered Gad to tell David to buy the threshing floor and build an altar to god. David did so, and killed some animals to make god happy. Then the angel put his sword back in his sheath, and David showed his appreciation in the time-honored Israelite way -- by killing some more animals. If you can't be killing Philistines or Ammonites at least you can be killing animals.